Tag Archives: media optimization

Psychotechnology for the 21st Century

This post will overview the Institute and our work. As a media researcher I’ve analyzed large databases, done surveys, measured brainwaves, tracked eye movements, absorbed a vast amount of information, and thought for the past 40 years about the way media affect the mind.

I started using computers in the 60s and was on the Internet in 1980 when it was called Arpanet. My exposure to computers during this period as they ascended to a major role in our culture got me to think about how the mind and the computer work in similar ways.

In my childhood my showbiz parents put me on stage from age 4 onward. The pressure of being on stage gave me the experience of “flow state” – almost an out of body experience, watching myself perform as if from the outside. These experiences made me intensely curious about what was going on in my head not only at these times, but all the time.

I have always been a meditator and contemplator, having discovered the techniques myself, under pressure to perform at above what I thought was my ability. What do these words mean to me? Contemplation is immersive observation, and can be focused on any subject. Meditation is when the focus of contemplation is one’s own self. You observe your self without identifying with the feelings and thoughts that arise, observing them as if from afar.

All of these currents in my life coalesced into a set of theories that are the basis for my nonprofit work, which is the Institute.

THEI as I call it for short has the Mission of disseminating useful psychotechnology – tools for internal information processing optimization – similar in a way to the media optimization tools I’ve helped invent for the marketing industry. Tools for sublimating negative emotion into learning and into action items. Leaving only positive emotion.

The Vision is that one day, maybe pretty far in the future, the whole human race will be using such psychotechnology on a continuous basis. Because this will avert war at the individual level and cause a shift from competitiveness to cooperation and mutual nurturing. May it come as soon as possible.

The history of the human race is uplifted over and over again by the introduction of bits of such psychotechnology, which in the past has manifested as yoga, Zen, religion, mysticism, philosophy, science, psychology, morality/ethics, aesthetics, and many other good things.

THEI’s psychotechnology is in the realm of science and specifically relates to translating ancient and self-discovered practices into the language of information processing so that it may be considered objectively by all parts of the population including people normally biased against such possibilities.

My book MIND MAGIC is an experiment to see if this personal psychotechnology (it has been proven to work in my own life, or I wouldn’t pass it on) could actually be transferred to anyone else. About 2000 letters, cards, and emails indicate that the original  version worked at least for some people. Including a range of well-known folks from Norman Cousins to John Lennon, Ram Dass and Daniel Goleman. Also some bank officials, corporate executives, Army Generals, Colonels, Navy Captains, et al, people in jail, teenagers, seniors, without any known group excluded.

Why do we need psychotechnology? It helps reduce stress, improve health, increase emotional intelligence, maximize performance, make you able to enjoy moment to moment Life even during downturns. It is speed learning. The element that it controls is attention – where you place it, where you don’t, and how to withhold the autonomic response that gets you stuck in every feeling and thought you have before you can apply quality control.

Some free samples of THEI psychotechnology are being offered in these blog postings and on our site. We hope you get something valuable out of THEI psychotechnology and give us feedback to help us make it better.

All the best,



The Bill Harvey newsletter is back

Many of you will remember and may have subscribed to the newsletter I wrote from 1979 to 2000, which predicted many of today’s media/technology trends:  reality TV, audiences creating media, the proliferation of interactive screens, addressable commercials (1979), passive portable peoplemeters (1979), the privacy principles of full disclosure/consumer choice/anonymity before they became the ANA/AAAA/ARF CASIE Principles, forecast (1980) the 30-point share drop (90 to 60) for the big 3 networks 1980-1990, and coined the terms clickstream and clickthrough.

For the first few years the newsletter came out twice a month and was called MEDIA SCIENCE NEWSLETTER. J. Walter Thompson was the first subscriber. During that period we made some of our riskiest projections, including penetration levels for basic and pay cable and every other form of the New Electronic Media. Then Viacom chief Jewels Haimovitz reminded me years later how accurate those projections turned out to be. The press referred to me as a media futurist. The late and beloved reporter Ben Bodec tracked my progress in Media Decisions.

In those early days we were still very turned on by the idea of media optimization. After successfully conducting many optimizations across all media at Interpublic however we gradually became more and more interested in optimizing more than just the eyeball exposure of media. How about optimizing the whole marketing budget? Against Sales, not eyeballs?

I had seen the early marketing mix modeling work Herb Krugman did at Interpublic, and saw that if you could automate that, run it backwards, and quantify the objective function – ROI or Consumer Lifetime Value or stock price or whatever – you could find a way to collect or estimate all the data you needed, and optimize the whole shebang.

At that point in time the name of the newsletter changed to THE MARKETING PULSE. We brought to light important studies by Motivac in France, suggesting that passive peoplemeters were ready for rollout – shortly before Percy rolled them out in the US ahead of Arbitron. We revealed important findings that the press had ignored, such as Leslie Woods and Walter Reichel’s measurement of the effect of Recency on actual sales. We became more interested in sales measurement, consulted for ScanAmerica and analyzed its sales lift findings relative to TV in the pages of the newsletter. We reported that IRI had found incremental TV to be ROI-positive twice as often as incremental promotion – 40% of the time vs. 20%.

Some of you may recall that 30 years ago I founded a nonprofit organization, the Human Effectiveness Institute, with the aim of improving decision making by optimization of thought. THEI put out a book which was rewritten this century as FREEING CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS.

The book became used as a course text at 35 universities including NYU and UCLA. On behalf of THEI I’ve provided workshops around the book to futurist groups within government and spoken about it at the World Future Society annual conference, on television and radio, on a panel with Bucky Fuller, and at West Point.

The idea of the “book” is that it breaks form with bookness, and by shattering expectations creates a mood conducive to mental optimization. The content is all about mental optimization and the resulting better decisions – decisions that work better in the real world. THEI is the publisher of this blog and therefore the topics of my new newsletter/blog will range far beyond media to include the important questions of the day, all of which rest on a foundational need for better decision making:

  • How does the US regain its competitive lead on the world market?
  • If times ahead will reduce actual spending power for most people, what less obvious changes will result?
  • Is it possible to put back even more meaning into our lives?
  • How do brands actually bond best with consumers?

The newsletter/blog will however stop referring to people as consumers, because that lens is counterproductive to the relationship brands wish to have with people.

Of course the topics you’d expect will always be covered:

  • How will cultural changes change the media and vice versa?
  • Different media create different measurable brain states
  • Programming gaps to be filled
  • Forecasts of changes in the media landscape
  • Nontraditional, experiential, and social marketing – best and worst practices – and what’s to come
  • At the cutting edge of marketing/media research
  • The optimization of effectiveness
  • Recommendations

I hope you’ll tell our mutual friends that the BH newsletter is back, or anyone you think might be interested in reading my “crazy” ideas again.  Thanks!

All the best, Bill